Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Defensive groupings: Arrington's value

By Mike Reiss

One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the New England Patriots' defensive breakdown between their sub and base packages. This can highlight player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of each game.

Arrington
Arrington
In Sunday's win against the Ravens, the Patriots were in their sub defense (5 or 6 defensive backs) on all but six snaps. It was similar the week before against the Dolphins, as the season total has risen to about 67 percent of the overall snaps in sub.

Cornerback Kyle Arrington is usually the Patriots' nickel back, and he played a strong game in the slot Sunday in Baltimore, both in coverage and run support. His value to the team is starter-like when considering the sub vs. base numbers and he is paid accordingly. When Arrington struggles, it is often when he is asked to play on the outside because of injuries to others.

Arrington's toughness also shouldn't be overlooked. He's been playing through a groin injury this season, and it wouldn't be surprising if it's an injury that requires offseason surgery.

Overall, here are the numbers for the season (small margin for error, includes penalties):

Sub defense: 730 of 1,086 snaps (67.2 percent)
Base defense: 334 of 1,086 snaps (30.7 percent)
Short-yardage: 22 of 1,086 snaps (2 percent)